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According to the job post, which has been active for less than a week, Uber is looking for a city manager that will not only run its Johannesburg operation but help Uber launch in the city. Uber is a San Francisco-based company which makes a mobile application that connects passengers with drivers of luxury vehicles for hire.
Uber at its core is an on-demand private driver. Users of the service can request a ride at any time using the service’s iPhone and Android apps or from its mobi site. With your credit card registered on the service, the car picks you up and the trip is tracked from the moment you get in ’til you get off.
What’s really cool about the service is that you can track your car while it is on its way to you. It also provides driver name and photo as well as car details.
Since its inception Uber has raised just under US$50-million in venture funding from several investors that include Goldman Sachs, Menlo Ventures and Bezos Expeditions.
The company has seen some difficult times in the last year after receiving a cease-and-desist letter from San Francisco’s Metro Transit Authority, saying that it was operating an unlicensed taxi service. A similar claim was also made by the city of Washington D.C.
The company is currently operational in more then 30 cities around the world and recently added normal taxis to its signature luxury cars such as: Lincoln Town Cars, Cadillac Escalades, BMW 7 Series, and Mercedes-Benz S550 sedans.
Uber in Africa, finally
The company’s founder Travis Kalanick has been hinting about coming to Africa for a while now. At LeWeb London last year he told me that if the right opportunity presented itself Uber would launch an African play.
It seems that opportunity has presented itself. The company’s job spec on LinkedIn suggests it means business with a Johannesburg launch, the spec is quite intense and is classified as “on fire” by the professional social network.
Uber is looking for someone who can do the following things:
WHAT YOU’LL DO:
- Work with Uber’s Launch team to launch Uber in your city
- Initiate creative local marketing strategies and user growth campaigns
- Manage deployment and quality of supply chain (i.e. Uber’s driver partners)
- Represent Uber at local events and with local PR
- Manage local regulatory concerns and local politics
- Communicate product/process needs to HQ, work with product/engineering to deliver on them
- Help scale our other cities through developing and sharing best practices
- Continue to grow REVENUES and RIDERSHIP!!!
A further look at Uber’s career’s page also suggests that the company is also making its away to Cape Town with three job postings for that city. Currently Uber is looking for a General Manager, a Community Manager and an Operations & Logistics Manager in both South African cities.
This could spell bad news for other services looking to play in the on-demand car sector in South Africa, though Uber’s price may be higher than theirs.
It isn’t quite clear how Uber will roll out in SA yet but we have reached out to Uber for comment on this but have yet to receive a reply.